Despite boasting an average height of 8 hands, the Falabella is classed a ‘miniature horse’ rather than a pony. In conformation, the breed is very similar to the Arab and the Thoroughbred, yet its reduced proportions make it suitable for riding only by small children.
Believed to hail from Argentina where it was first developed in 1868, the Falabella had existed in relative isolation for decades before being brought to the western hemisphere in the 20th century.
Juan Falabella, one of the breed’s founding fathers, decided to incorporate Welsh and Shetland pony, as well as Thoroughbred blood into the breeding program, thus creating a horse with strength, spirit and endurance.
The Falabella became an instant hit in the west because of its intelligence and trainability and was a popular contender in the show ring. The breed is seen in a variety of colours, from palomino to brown and black, and possesses a thick mane and tail that gives it a distinctive look.
The Falabella is blessed with an uncommonly long life-span of 40-45 years. This is compared with other horse breeds whose average life expectancy is 30 years.